A win-win developmentopportunity for universityadministratorsProfessor Helen Higson, Senior Pro-Vice-Chancellor &Dr Ann Hartley, Associate Director Human Resources
Outline of the presentation Rationale for the initiative Overview of the Foundation Degree in Business and Education Management Programme Admissions criteria Curriculum approach Student profile Evidence of effectiveness of the programme Value of the programme Student quotes Manager quote Challenges Discussion
Rationale for the initiative Business imperative to maximise people‟s contributions Pool of very talented staff without degrees – an implicit progression bar Some staff with professional qualifications e.g. Accounting, and this gave the opportunity to give them a broader qualification In-house courses / programmes not sufficiently stretching for some Wanted the FD to be work-based – had to link back into improvements/changes at Aston Overall - improved skill set in the workforce
Overview of the Foundation Degree Based on the first two years of BSc Business degree (same modules) Three-year programme 16 full-days a year attendance – work time „Blended‟ learning Partnership with local FE College Articulation to BSc Business and Professional Studies Fully funded places for Aston staff
Programme - admissions criteria Broad Most have little recent education But all there is some evidence of good educational background (in GCSE, A levels, professional qualifications) Diagnostic tests in English and Maths (developmental) Learning Development Centre
Curriculum approach Considerable reflective practice Heavily work-based learning As much of the assessed work as possible is related to an issue within the individual‟s own department. If the topic has no immediate or obvious relevance in their department, then practical issues for consideration are sourced from other departments Major project in the final year of relevance to the department Individualised to relate to their work environment Work-based mentors
Student profile Investment in our own staff (majority) Geographical spread (London, Bath, Bradford) Range of roles: e.g. accounting, general admin, IT, sports administration, executive education Widening the intake to include those in a training role in education and NHS
Evidence of effectiveness of the programme Results Progression Little complete withdrawal (lots of LOA) Numbers articulating to BSc Study buddies Internal review Profiles
Value of the programme Benefit to individuals Improving skills Understanding the wider picture Greater confidence – feeling better able to contribute Job satisfaction – very positive about working at Aston Highly motivational Promotions / progression Benefit to the organisation More knowledgeable staff more aware Innovation/change through work-based projects Economic benefit / cost effective Loyalty and motivation Networks and cross-institutional working Staff better able to contribute within the department
Student quotes (1)“It has given me a broader knowledge of management. Previously Iwas very entrenched in my world of finance; the FD encouragesyou to research different management technics and relate them toyour work environment. It has given me a new enthusiasm to learnagain. The biggest thing I have gained is self-confidence to take onnew challenges and be prepared to try something new”.
Student quote (2)“Doing the foundation degree has certainly benefited bothmyself, the department and importantly my team. On a personallevel it has provided me with the opportunity of learning whilecontinuing to work. My contribution in the department has beenmore effective due to improvement in my knowledge and skills. Theprogramme has allowed me to appreciate the current issues in theUniversity and the sector as a whole, and how decisions impactwhat we do. This has been an eye opener. There are so manypositives but I believe these are the key points”.”
Student quotes (3) My confidence levels have rocketed I have found a purpose & direction in my life I now understand and can relate to the saying „Knowledge is Power‟ I have proven to myself that I have self-worth I am able to think out of the box I have formed good relationships with staff from other areas of the University
Student quotes (4)“My confidence levels are increased, and with a newfound belief inmy ability I am more inclined to make suggestions in an attempt topositively shape the department and the Universityoperates. Work-based learning has to be one of the best ways inwhich to study, as I can see first-hand how theory relates to myworking environment, and how it can be used to improve myworking practices”.
Manager quote“ The work-based element of the programme, and the applicationof her learning (not least through project and assignment work) hasgiven her a greater understanding of our operation, our strategyand our challenges. This enables her to engage in a deeper andmore significant way in our discussions around clientrequirements, and to provide input to our programme design andclient engagement processes. The Degree programme gave herthe headroom for her own personal development; she has grownpersonally and professionally, both within and outside her role, andwe have been able to enjoy the benefits of that”.
Challenges Pump priming / funding Labour intensive Teaching /learning delivery Mentoring Scheduling in the department Links with partner college
Discussion points How could/does work-based learning impact in your organisation? How could elements of our approach be adopted by you and how could our approach be further developed? How can we promote work-based learning across the HE sector?